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The Japanese designer Kenzo Takada passed away last night, at 81 years old due to the coronavirus at the Neuilly-sur-Seine Hospital (Paris), where he was recovered. The news completely shook the fashion’s industry and Paris, where in the past few days was taking place the Fashion Week. Kenzo, that stepped down from his role as the creative director of his brand in 1999 (and sold the company to the LVMH group)was still a point of reference thanks to the amazing heritage that he left behind him. “I’m happy that people says that I’ve influenced them, but the truth is that I’m the one who’s influenced by them. My world is my source of inspiration,” used to always says the designer.

Born in Himeji, Japan, in 1939, fifth out of seven kids, he always had a passion for fashion and clothes. But his parents didn’t allow him to pursue his creativity so he has to choose to study English literature, But at 20 years he decides to move to Tokyo and join the fashion school Bunka Gakuen. After six years, in 1965, he moves to Paris. During those years the capital was influenced by the elegance of Dior and Chanel, and the contemporary of Cardin and Paco Rabanne. In 1970 he opens his first boutique, Jungle Jap in Galérie Vivienne. His style is influenced by his roots, jungle, animalier and flower prints, featured on his jersey dresses. A mix & match of couture and streetwear, and only in the 80s the most important fashion magazines start to notice him. Then in 1988, it’s the turn of the fragrances, like the iconic Flower by Kenzo and his kids’ line, Kenzo Kids.

After retiring from the fashion industry he started to work on homeware and interior design. Kenzo is still one of the main brands of the LVMH group, first under the creative direction of the Italian designer Antonio Marras, then with the duo Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, now with Felipe Oliveira Baptista. Takada rarely sat front row at the fashion shows of his successors, but everyone wanted to personally meet him thanks to his energy, kindness and creativity which were a big source of inspiration. It was with an official note from the brand that came to the sad news: “It is with immense sadness that KENZO has learned of the passing of our founder, Kenzo Takada. For half a century, Mr Takada has been an emblematic personality in the fashion industry – always infusing creativity and colour into the world. Today, his optimism, zest for life and generosity continue to be pillars of our Maison. He will be greatly missed and always remembered”. And the creative director Felipe Oliveira Baptista added: “It is with great sadness that I have learned the passing away of Mr Kenzo Takada. His amazing energy, kindness, talent and smile were contagious. His kindred spirit will live forever. Rest in peace Master.”

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